This week, to celebrate early signs of Spring and Mardi Gras, I selected the colorful and lively work of Gillian Ayres. She was an English painter best known for her large, vividly colored abstract paintings and prints. She was one of the leading abstract painters of her generation. While attending St Paul's Girls' School, London, she taught art at weekends to the children in bomb-damaged areas of London after the blitz. She went on to receive her formal training from the Camberwell College of Arts in London. She gained critical attention when she was selected to participate in the exhibition “British Painting in the 60s” at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. During her career, she taught painting at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, Saint Martin's School of Art in London, and from 1965 to 1978 and became head of painting at the Winchester School of Art, the first female teacher in the UK to hold such a position. Ayres was honored with the Royal Academician in 1991 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011 for her contribution to British painting. In 1981 she moved her family to an old rectory on the coast in Wales to become a full-time painter.
Her paintings and prints are held by major museums and galleries around the world including Tate, London; British Museum, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven; the National Gallery of Australia, and the Museum of Modern Art, Brasilia.